The Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County will be officially dedicated and opened to the public Saturday. The ceremony will mark the completion of a 10-year effort to honor the 40 passengers and crewmembers who perished when the plane crashed into the field in Stonycreek Township. Tim Lambert, the news director at sister station WITF-FM in Harrisburg, owned land that was considered an essential part of the crash site. The parcel is now a part of the memorial.
As a landowner, Tim Lambert had a chance to tour the site one last time with a few family members before the word "temporary" was removed from the name of the memorial. Over the last ten years, family members have come to the site to say hello to their lost loved ones and reflect on some of their cherished memories.
Among those who make several trips a year is Ken Nacke. His brother Louis was among the 40 "Heroes of Flight 93."
When he visits the site, Nacke often heads down a dirt path that leads to a place that has been sealed off to the public since September 11th, 2001, the impact zone. A huge boulder now marks the spot where Flight 93 met the earth at 10:03 a.m. on September 11th. It serves as a reference point out in the distance for visitors. But for family members, it is a place to stand and an object to touch as they remember.
Leaning against the boulder and gazing at the wildflowers that dot the field, Nacke considers the importance of keeping the area where he stands for "family members only."
"I don't take entry into this place for granted. I think every family member feels the same way that I do," said Nacke. "This is there final resting place. This is the closest place my mom can get to the final resting place for her son."
Tim Lambert and Ken Knacke were joined by other family members and landowners for one last tour before the first phase of the memorial is dedicated this weekend.
To Ken Nacke, it's the culmination of 10 years of blood, sweat and tears and a chance to say hello to his brother, Louis Joey Nacke, and the 39 other passengers and crew, once again.